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Beacon Archive

October 2002
PDF Version

Happy Birthday, Peaine Township.

On August 24th Peaine Township threw itself a partyfor its 155th birthday. After a barbeque, a ceremony took place in the Peaine Township Hall with the Board, delegates from the MTA, Shirley Roloff, and about 30 guests. After a few preliminary remarks from Supervisor John Works (he mentioned that with 70 miles of roads and a land valuation of $100,000,000, Peaine was the largest township in Charlevoix County), Amelia Compo, a descendant of Chief Payzhickwaywedong, offered a prayer in which she asked that knowledge be increased and shared as a way to bring all people together. After the prayer Fred and Cindy Haubold presented a copy of the 1852 map of Beaver to the Township, with a second drawing on the back showing the bearings of various water routes linking Paradise Bay to the mainland.

Three of Amelia's sisters were present, including Tootsie Keeshik, who had driven up from Virginia for the occasion. She is descended from Chief Peaine through his son Antoine, Antoine's son James, and James' daughter Lucy, who was her mother. She talked about the uncertainties surrounding the Chief's arrival (he was born in 1805), the origin of his name (which means 'cloudy day'), and the mistaken communication that led to the Native Americans being called Ottawa--they thought they were being asked what do you do?, and their answer, Ottawa, means We are traders.

Tootsie spoke about our landscape artifacts, including the Circle of Chiefs, which Alvin LaFreniere had showed her the day before. One of the stones there is marked with an engraving of a bird wing, because the Chief buried there, who led the 1763 uprising against the British at Fort Michilimichimac, was a member of the Crane Clan. She mentioned that the stone circles were used for ceremonies, frequently surreptitiously because they were ordered to abandon their traditional celebrations except for the Ghost Suppers, which fell on All-saints' Day. There was a time also, she added, when Native Americans had to wear a copper necklace to indicate which land they were connected to; this was after the effort by Henry Schoolcraft, Pere Marquette, and others to apportion the Indian Nation into bands.

Tootsie mentioned that a pipe ceremony was being conducted simultaneously on the mainland for Peaine Township. She hoped that understanding will continue to improve, and that the 400th anniversary of America's discovery by Captain John Smith in 2007 would be celebrated as marking a significant improvement in tolerance of and respect for the dissimilarities of our two cultures.

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